On August 1, 2019, 80 people from 48 organisations across five Australian states and territories convened at Swinburne University of Technology for the Social Enterprise Evidence Forum.
Hosted by the Centre for Social Impact (CSI) Swinburne with support from the Commonwealth Department of Social Services (DSS), and with contributions from RMIT, ANU, Western Sydney University, and University of New South Wales, the purpose of the day was to canvass the available evidence about social enterprise and the wider ecosystem, and also to identify gaps in knowledge, as well as what is needed in policy and practice to support the development of the field and its impacts.
The formal proceedings commenced with an overview of the social enterprise field of practice by Professor Jo Barraket, Director of CSI Swinburne, together with a presentation via video-link by Dr Emma Lee, CSI Swinburne’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research Fellow, exploring Indigenous ways of doing business and producing social impact.
Throughout the day, three thematic conversations guided discussions about different aspects of contemporary social enterprise research and practice. Each Forum conversation comprised three presentations, together with questions from the audience.
During the Forum Brainstorm participants identified key knowledge needs and priorities for the future social enterprise research agenda. Three rapporteurs drawn from the social enterprise ecosystem summarised the insights emerging from each of the conversations immediately prior to the Forum’s policy and practice panel. Brief biographies for each presenter and panel member together with the Forum program can be found in the Appendix attached to this report.